Nathan Li

Nathan Li
Elementary School: Graham & Parks School
College: Harvard College
Major: Electrical Engineering/Computer Science and Economics
Career Aspiration: Business Leader in Tech

Extra Curricula
CRLS Varsity Crew, Debate Team, Robotics Team, Science Team, Freshman Mentoring, National Honors Society

Favorite Class at CRLS
I like computer science because it is a powerful tool for problem solving across multiple fields. From economics to environmental science, computer science allows one to efficiently calculate, analyze, and predict. That is why I particularly enjoy intersecting computer science with my other interests, such as history and electronics. Computer science empowers me to both analyze societal trends throughout history and program complex yet useful robots. I hope to continue studying computer science and its applications in the real world. 

Favorite Teacher
Before I took Mr. Martinez’s Arduino microcontroller course in my Junior year of high school, I still hadn’t seriously considered computer science as a potential degree path. I had taken computer science courses before, but they had been limited to software projects. In Mr. Martinez’s class, however, I was blown away by the magic that occurs when hardware and software intersect. Mr. Martinez showed me how code can manipulate and control electronic systems to create cool robotics and electrical engineering projects. He encouraged me to explore my passion for such projects, and his support continued as I began creating my own robotics projects at home with Arduino microcontrollers. We kept in touch long after the Arduino class itself ended, and we were able to continue bonding over new projects as we shared progress and ideas. I’m truly grateful to have had Mr. Martinez as a teacher, and I know that Arduinos will always hold a special place in my heart.

What are some of the out-of-school time (OST) programs that you participated in between grades 6 - 12?
Head Citizenship Class Teacher and Bilingual Computer Class Tutor at Asian American Civic Association, New England Aquarium ClimaTEENS, Boston Chinese Musicians Association Youth Orchestra, MIT Engineering Design Workshop, Harvard Youth Lead the Change Conference

How did being enrolled in any OST program(s) contribute to your success in and out of high school?
While in-school activities played an important role in my growth, I believe that exploring the opportunities in my broader community significantly contributed to my success today. It was through out of school programs that I was able to explore my Chinese cultural heritage, my passion for engineering, my concern for the environment, and my ability to lead. In addition, I believe that joining communities outside of school enhanced my self confidence and expanded my network of friends. Ultimately, out of school programs complemented in-school programs in a way that helped me develop my interests and grow as a person.

What did you like most about CRLS? Why?
The best part of CRLS was the abundance of opportunity. From classes to clubs to guidance, CRLS was able to satisfy much of my curiosity throughout high school. On one hand, I was able to try out classes like AP chemistry and AP biology that I otherwise would not have taken. On the other hand, I was able to take classes that I definitely wanted to pursue further, such as robotics and advanced history classes. Outside of class, CRLS gave me the opportunity to connect with peers through activities like debate and crew. Whenever I had a question or concern, my teachers and guidance counselor, Mr. Tubinis, were always there. All these opportunities for growth and exploration truly made CRLS special to me.

What is something people unfamiliar with CRLS should know about the school? Why? 
Pulled pork Wednesday lunches were the best. I hope it’s still a thing at CRLS.

Advice to Incoming Freshmen
I think that the most important reminder for incoming freshmen is to ask questions and take advantage of the resources provided to you by CRLS. Whenever you have a question, take the risk to ask because it will help build your confidence in the long run. At the same time, if you have any questions about high school in general, please be sure to reach out to your guidance counselor and make use of meeting times. The guidance counselors are very nice people that want to get to know you, and they can support you all the way up to helping you plan for after high school.

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